AP by the numbers: different but the same


The chart depicts the numbers of students in AP classes last year and this year. Each figure represents about 65 students.

Sydney Grissom, Staff Reporter

539 students took AP classes last year. 535 students are taking AP classes this year. At first glance, these numbers may look similar, however 83 of the students counted in this year’s number are freshman taking an AP class for the first time in the history of the school.

There are 87 fewer students in grades 10-12 taking AP classes this year compared to last year. This decrease could be due to new teachers this year, rumors from previous years, or just nervousness.

“It may be new teachers. Junior year is a lot of when students take their first AP classes, so I think there is some nerves that come in that first week of not being sure that they can handle it and so they bail out,” counselor Amanda Breeden said.

The junior class is where most of the drop has been observed in the 2013-2014 school year.

“I haven’t seen a drop in the AP for seniors, it is the juniors that has been by far the most,” Breeden said.

The 16.1 percent decrease in students in grades 10-12 taking AP classes this year could also be due to rumors that students hear about the classes from other grades.

“Last year everyone heard that AP Lang was going to have no homework so everyone decided to sign up for it,” junior Samantha O’Brien said. “When they found out you do have some every so often then they all dropped it. It honestly is not too much homework, but it just did not meet the expectations they had so they dropped it.”

Although that may be the case for some students, others have dropped it for other reasons too, for example disliking the new teachers or too busy schedules. The school has added two new teachers to the staff that are teaching junior AP classes this school year, which could affect the amount of students taking these classes. Jasen Eairhart is teaching AP Language and Kristen Pereira is teaching AP US History.

“They might have been expecting the teacher from last year and then found out that it was going to be different and that affected their decision,”  counselor Lissa Testa said.

A new teacher often brings a level of uncertainty for students as they have no background information about the new teacher and whether or not they are good.

“I don’t know if people are just afraid to give them a chance because they don’t have anything to work from,” Breeden said.

Nerves also play a part in this drop of enrollment numbers, as many juniors are deciding to take AP classes for their first time this year.

“My guess is that maybe it’s their first time, I don’t think students that took AP as a sophomore are dropping at the junior year,” Breeden said. “It’s the kids for the first time that are trying the AP and I think they feel that it is either going to be too hard or they are not ready for it.”